Coronavirus, health and public policies in Argentina: Monitoring of perceptions and prevention practices

One CIECS research team adapted a WHO survey to obtain local data on the pandemic. The first part of the data obtained was submitted and the rest will be collected as the situation evolves to make recommendations to the authorities based on the conclusions experts arrive at.

A research team of the ‘Program Health, Disease and Curing Practices of CIECS (CONICET-UNC) adapted for our country a survey proposed by the Regional Office of the World Health Organization (WHO) to obtain local information that consider the changing dynamic of population risk perception, concerns, misinformation, protection practices and preventive measures implemented against COVID-19.

According to the  results of the survey, few people believe they were infected with COVID-19. Nevertheless, almost half of the respondents feel that in case of infection, their case would be severe.

“The survey was designed by the WHO and it is part of a multi-country study that is being conducted. With same instrument, adapted to different contexts and with the same questions, experts evaluate how the context changes the perceptions of these issues: the feeling of contagion, the practice of preventive measures, among others. We are attentive to the results of other contexts so as to compare them,” Lorena Saletti explains. She is a CONICET associate researcher and one of the authors of the study.

The objective was to analyze this pandemic jointly between different countries. The study will continue as the situation evolves in order to obtain a series of recommendations based on the conclusions for the authorities. “We send it to decision makers, whom we are interested in showing the conclusions,” the researcher says.

The surveyed population expressed that the prevention measures they carry out are consistent with the recommendation of the Ministry of Health of Argentina –ventilate environments, social distance, handwashing, covering their mouth when coughing, disinfecting- and the most reliable sources of information are the consultation with health professionals and the website of the Ministry.

To monitor the changes, the online survey was distributed through social networks in two consecutive moments, in independent samples. The first one was from March 23 to 25-2020, which coincide with the report of the first probable case of local transmission of COVIDE-19. The second instance of data collection began on March 30, 2020, a day after the announcement of the extention of the days of social isolation and ended on April 3. The first sample included 992 people, and the second 418, both according to the distribution by age and gender identity of the population of Argentina. People from 23 provinces and CABA were surveyed but the participation of people from Córdoba was much higher because the survey was launched from there.

“Now we are evaluating the qualitative part of the survey to continue deepening the analyses of the data we obtained. This is a first report, a quantitative thermometer,” explains the researcher.

Other conclusions that emerged from the survey represent the main concerns: the people who live in the streets, the closure of small businesses and the overload of the health system. Furthermore, from the first data collection to the second, there is an increase in the concern of the participants for not being able to meet family and friends, inflation, unemployment, mental health and domestic violence. All these aspects are key to the comprehensive health of the population. Likewise, the feelings generated by COVID-19 are linked mainly to fear, uncertainty and anguish, while a sense of responsibility and care emerge.

It is worth mentioning that the assessment of social interdependence and the possibility of both personal and social reflection derived from the pandemic were considered as positive consequences for the society.


-To read the report, click here

By Cecilia Wedemeyer. Communication CCT Córdoba.

About the study:

Lorena Saletti, Natalia Tumas, Silvina Berra, Cecilia Johnson and Adrián Carbonetti,of CIECS.